The Coleman Audio QS8MKII is a 1U Master Monitor Controller featuring a Cue Mixer, analogue summing, 3 output pairs with A/B Speaker switch, talkback microphone and a new high precision 47-position detented stepped attenuator.
Control Room Monitor
To start the QS8 is a passive control room monitor module. A/B between 2 balanced stereo sources, Aux #1 and Aux #2 with a stepped attenuator for level control feeding the output to the main or alternate speakers. The main signal path is completely passive, no electronics in the signal path means no noise added or colouration of the audio signal. There is also a Mix selection on the control room switch when using the QS8 as an analogue summing box. This selection does have electronics in the path since you are listening to the sum of 4 stereo inputs.
Cue Mixing Section (no latency)
The cue mix is the sum of the stereo cue input and Aux #3 stereo input. The stereo cue can select between a dedicated stereo cue input from the back panel or the control room signal (Aux #1 or Aux #2). This stereo cue has it’s own input level control. The Aux #3 input sums with the stereo cue signal, has a L/R or mono select button and an input level control. The resulting stereo cue mix has an overall master level control and is sent out to the headphone amp.
Example: If you are doing a vocal overdub and you can split the vocal mic preamp output signal with a “Y” cord sending one side to the DAW to record and the other side to the Aux #3 input on the QS8. This eliminates any latency issue because the artist will hear the input. The stereo/mono select button allows the vocal to be on both sides of the headphone and input level control for Aux #3 allows for “more me” in the headphones for the vocalist. So if the artist can’t hear enough of themselves you can just reach over and turn them up without digging into the DAW.
The talkback switch activates the talkback mic and dims the control room signal. There is a talkback level control so you can the talkback level to the headphones and a slate output on the back panel that can be used to slate the track (take 1, take 2, take 23). The omnidirectional talkback microphone is included with the QS8 and has a 12-foot cable. You can also remote the talkback switch from the TB remote jack on the back panel. Any momentary switch will work.
Engineer’s Headphone Section
The headphone output on the front panel is designated for the recording engineer but could be used for a player in the control room too. You can select between 2 sources. The cue mix being sent to the artist, this includes the talkback signal too. Or the Mix which is the summing section of the QS8.
QS8 as an Analogue Summing Box
Pressing the Mix button on the control room selector turns the QS8 into a analogue summing box. There are 4 stereo sources or stems that are summed together (Aux #1 and Aux #2, the stereo cue input from the back panel and stereo Aux #3 on the back panel). The Aux #1 and Aux #2 levels are controlled in the DAW but the stereo cue and Aux#3 input level control can adjust the level in the analogue mix. Aux#3 stereo/mono switch is also present in the mix so a bass and kick drum can be brought into Aux #3 L and R and made mono in the resulting stereo mix. The analogue mix comes out on a pair of XLR connectors on the back and can be looped back to the DAW to record the mix track.
But wait there’s more
Sometimes you need a second stereo cue. The QS8 can do this.
Example: Let’s say the drummer wants to hear a click track but none of the other players want the click in their headphones. The engineer is listening to the Aux #1 input signal on the control room monitors so that signal is not feeding the mix output XLR’s but the Aux #2, Aux #3 and the stereo cue are still feeding the mix output XLR’s. So bring the click to the Aux #2 input. Now the mix output XLR’s can be sent to another cue headphone amp and will have the complete stereo cue mix plus the click for the drummer. The rest of the players have the cue mix signal without the click track, problem solved.
The QS8 has the features of the mix and control room section of a recording console but only takes up 1 rack space.